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CAN Federation Warns ISPs Not To Hike Internet Price

CAN Federation warns ISPs against their decision to hike the internet price. The Computer Association Nepal (Federation) today released a press release asking the private ISPs to reconsider their decision to increase the broadband costs.

Recently, ISPAN held a meeting and decided to increase the price of the internet by up to Rs.300. The body cited NEA’s the increased rental charges on cable poles as the reason for the decision.

ISPAN has decided on hiking the broadband price by Rs.300 in rural areas and by Rs.150 in urban settings.

But this decision has found an instant rebuke. Internet consumers and the stakeholders have collectively raised their voices against the decision. First, it was never a popular decision and CAN has become another voice in solidarity.

In its Press Release, CAN called the decision to increase the internet price “unfortunate”. The body also criticized the government agencies for not complying with the suggestions by CAN and ISPAN on tax policies.

CAN Praises Private ISPs

CAN admired the role of private ISPs in transforming Nepal’s internet landscape and its contributions during COVID-19 times. It read, “private companies’ investments, leading role and its role towards Nepal’s economy has taken it to this respectable position. Even in COVID-19, times banking, education, health, and industrial sectors have run uninterrupted which helped the government collect taxes.”

CAN Federations also noted government agencies’ unflattering operations during lockdowns. IT believes private ISPs’ contributions alleviated those flaws in communications sectors.

Meanwhile, the association also praised NEA for its rational policies which have allowed Nepali internet consumers to afford broadband service at the current price range. It said NEA’s reasonable rental charges on poles and Optical Ground Wire have been the reason for a cost-efficient internet price.

The root cause of the current price hike on the internet is NEA’s decision to increase their price on pole and OPGW charges. This is why CAN has requested NEA to facilitate a safe passage to the benefit all.

Calls For The Existing Rental Charges

The federation has urged the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, and NEA to reverse its decision on increasing the rental charges on utility poles and OPGW. It has even called for adherence to the existing pole charges as was decided by the NEA Board meeting on 2077, Bhadra 5.

The federation has labeled per kilometer charges on pole usage “impractical” for the ISPs, and the consumers. It also believes such policy goes against the spirit of the Digital Nepal Framework.

Recently, there was news of NEA confiscating ISPs’ equipment off the poles, disallowing maintenance work, and not returning the equipment. CAN has requested on NEA not to resort to such acts in the midst of the ongoing discussions.

The feud between NEA and the ISPs on pole charges has intensified over the months and needs a sound resolution. ISPAN chief had made it clear months ago that higher charges on poles will translate to higher internet prices which have now happened. This ongoing issue is in want of dire attention as internet costs should not be a burden on modern-day consumers.

The CAN federation has called on the PM and MoICT, NTA to coordinate a resolution over the issue asking for intervention and act as a guardian.

Also read: NEA’s New Rental Charges Will Inflate Internet Prices: Warns ISPAN Chief

Cost-friendly internet is the norm in today’s world but in Nepal, we are having to bear the opposite. Meanwhile, costly internet doesn’t flow with the government’s drive for Digital Nepal. Who is to blame in the current internet price saga? Do share your inputs with us below.

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